Brad Smith Motorsports Press Release!
Brad’s Thoughts on the upcoming Talladega Race Day!
Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, AL – June 17, 2020
First, I love Talladega because it is a great track with a huge amount of tradition and story.
It is also one of those tracks where underfunded teams have a chance to do well because of the drafting. My family roots go back to Alabama and I love Alabama football. Bear Bryant was my favorite college coach of all time.
But Dega also has a superstitious side which can bite you in a heartbeat. I have only been airlifted out of a race track twice, and both times it was Talladega. Once in 2005 for a car fire during qualifying (a race where Paul Menard used my number to get in and WON the race) and 2015 where I hit the inside wall at about 180MPH and likely survived only because they had installed SAFER barrier on the inside wall. Many folks asked why I didn’t brake or just turn the wheel, but as PHIL PARSONS so accurately described on the live broadcast, “the throttle was stuck wide open, and both the steering and brakes were broken on the initial impact. I was just there for the ride”.
And that happened just after we had turned the fastest lap of anyone in the race!! So I have learned to truly respect Talladega for the things that can happen at those speeds and in a big pack of cars.
Talladega is also a sad place because two years ago, my Car Owner (and NASCAR legend) James Hylton and his son were killed returning home from the race. We lost two very fine people that day and the memories of that incident have not faded.
It is rare that you get a chance to drive a race car for one of your childhood heroes, and I rooted for James in those old winged Dodge/Plymouth race cars. I was quite young, but my Dad was an engineer at Chrysler so my earliest racing memories are rooting on the “winged warriors”. James was one of my favorites and he and Tweet are still sorely missed every day.
In closing, our day at Talladega will likely not be spectacular. We blew our Ilmor motor at Daytona and had to put a legacy motor back in the car. It is also the only car and running engine we have, so our day will likely be running at the back of the pack, staying out of trouble so we can bring the car home in one piece.